Sermon for Saturday

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

Several dozen judo students were practicing in a large gymnasium, alternatively listening to an instructor and practicing various moves and throws. As I watched them, I noticed that every student was wearing a white robe that was held together at the waist by a belt. Not all the belts were the same colour. Most of the belts were yellow, but several students wore white belts, two had orange belts, one had a blue belt, and the instructor’s belt was brown. My curiosity demanded an explanation for the different colours, and the man who had brought me to the gym explained. Judo practitioners, he said, wear belts to indicate their level of ability in the martial art. Beginners wear the white belt, he pointed out, and all it indicated was that the robe was being held together. The next level was yellow, indicating that the student had mastered basic moves. The instructor’s brown belt showed that he was one level away from achieving the coveted black belt rank. Judo ranks its practitioners according to their abilities. That’s the opposite from Christianity; God doesn’t rank us according to our abilities, but by how much of His armour we put on.

Many Christians become expert in the use of our sword, which is the Word of God. But we all need to be aware that it is not our abilities that win battles for God. A victorious Christian is victorious, not because of his abilities, but because of the armour that he has taken to himself. In fact, a Christian who trusts in his abilities is headed for disaster, because pride is the sin that always leads to defeat. Within the armour of God, and only within the armour of God, we have the assurance of being able to withstand and to stand.

The Christian is always under attack. The world, the flesh, and the devil are against us and will not give up their opposition as long as we are in the body pent. Our text speaks of the evil day. This refers to times of particularly powerful and destructive attacks by our enemies. Every Christian encounters evil days, some more than others. Only the armour of God allows us to stand up to the attacks during these evil days. There are times when all we can do is simply stand and trust God to preserve us, and the armour of God allows us to stand and endure the wiles of the devil, the raging storms of loss and sorrows, and the little foxes of temptation and lust. To stand against all of those is victory.

By taking to ourselves the whole armour of God, we can be assured of victory. And we can also be assured that our Lord – and not ourselves – rightfully receives the glory. – Jim MacIntosh

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